Trump vows to help sanctioned ZTE ‘to get back into business, fast’

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This picture taken on May 3, 2018 shows the ZTE logo on an office building in Shanghai. Chinese telecom giant ZTE said its major operations had “ceased” following last month’s US ban on American sales of critical technology to the company, raising the possibility of its collapse. (AFP PHOTO / Johannes EISELE)

Amid the U.S.-China trade dispute, President Donald Trump instructs regulators to help ZTE to “get back in business, fast.”

ZTE, a China-based tech company, had its buying of American components blocked by the U.S. CGTN’s Toby Muse explains more on the situation.

President Donald Trump pledged to help the Chinese telecommunications giant after the U.S. government denied it access to its American suppliers. Trump’s move will likely be seen as a concession to the Chinese in the ongoing talks between Beijing and Washington to resolve the trade conflict.

Last week, ZTE announced it had suspended major operations as a result of the U.S. Commerce Department’s trade restrictions, prohibiting the company from purchasing American supplies. The Commerce Department had accused ZTE of violating a settlement agreement with the U.S. government.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping are “are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”

The ban on American supplies was originally imposed for seven years. It arose after ZTE was fined $1.2 billion for selling equipment to Iran and DPRK, in violation of U.S. sanctions. The blanket ban on the use of American components threatened the company, given that it imports around 30 percent of its parts from the U.S.

ZTE, which has more than 70,000 employees, said it bought $2.3 billion’ worth of US goods in 2017. Its major American suppliers include Qualcomm, Intel and Texas Instruments.

When a U.S. delegation visited China recently for talks to end a trade stand-off, resolution of the ZTE case was among Beijing’s main demands. If Trump does make concessions regarding ZTE, there’s no indication of what he might receive in return as the two countries continue to discuss their ongoing trade conflict.